It has been a while since Grandma Kiwicakes & I tackled another recipe in our Family Recipe Journey. With New Years day fast approaching, we thought it a good idea to tackle Black Bun. I never ate this as a child - I can kinda see why, it wouldn't be to most kids tastes, but I do remember the hype surrounding it, when Grandma Kiwicakes' great aunt Jessie sent it from Scotland each year. The finished product is so darn heavy, the postage must have cost a fortune. When the Black Bun arrived, my Granny would never let anyone even taste a crumb until New Years day. So by the time New Years Day rolled around, everyone was desperate for a piece.
Black Bun uses a large quantity of dried fruit and is similar in some ways to a Christmas cake
At this stage once drenched in Brandy, the fruit itself is delicious.
The pastry calls for margarine, but Grandma Kiwicakes recollection of the margarine used in the 1950s, when she was in Scotland (prior to coming to NZ), was that it was not like NZ margarine. So we decided to use the butter flavour Crisco.
The entire Black Bun is encased in pastry, on the bottom, all 4 sides & the top.
Your fold the side walls of the pastry down, so when the top goes on, it helps form a good seal.
The edges need to be pressed with a fork around the circumference, pricked across the entire top and 5 skewer holes should be poked in, to let the steam escape.
We baked ours, in a 9'' diameter square cake pan, that was 80mm deep.
3/4 lb flour
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg (beaten)
1 lb flour
1/2 lb castor sugar
2lb cleaned currants
2oz candied peel
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 oz jamaican pepper (this is allspice)
1/2oz ground ginger
1/2 oz cinnamon
1 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 pint milk (300ml)
1 tbsp brandy or sherry
beaten egg as required
To make pastry. Sift flour & salt. Rub in butter or margarine. Stir in baking powder & enough beaten egg to form dough (like shortcrust). Roll out pastry to line your cake tin.
To make filling. Sift flour, stir in sugars. Prepare fruit (chop & stone raisins if reqd). Stir in fruits & peel & spices, add cream of tartar & baking powder. Stir in milk & brnady. Pack in to prepared cake tin. Level the mixture, fold down side walls of pastry over top of filling. Cover with pastry lid. Make 4 or 5 holes with a skewer, right to bottom of tin. Prick all over lid with a fork, and crimp edges around circumference. Brush top with beaten egg. Bake in moderate overn 350f for 3 hours. Keep for at least 10 days before cutting.